Adjournment Debate

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It is a privilege to take a call in the adjournment debate as the deputy leader of the ACT Party. It is a very special time of year. It is a chance for us to spend valuable time with our friends and family over Christmas, and to take a break from Parliament.

The past year has been one of highs and lows. Although the Government passed ACT’s “three strikes” policy into law to help protect all New Zealanders, it also implemented the emissions trading scheme, much to ACT’s disappointment. ACT opposes the emissions trading scheme as it is a costly, bureaucratic mess of a policy that is damaging our country and has unnecessarily increased the prices of electricity and petrol, and, worse still, paid massive subsidies to foresters.

We are out of line with, and in front of, our major trading partners. We have jumped the gun and are still running, and no one is following. As ACT suggested, a simple low-rate carbon tax was by far and away the best option as our contribution to a genuinely global effort while we waited to see the science develop and to see whether the rest of the world changed its mind.

ACT also opposed the anti-smacking law, which made criminals out of good parents, and, worse still, created uncertainty.

Catherine Delahunty: It didn’t.

Hon JOHN BOSCAWEN: Yes, it did.

The way the law purports to work is to require the police to act with discretion rather than apply the letter of the law. That is a disgraceful way to make and apply law. ACT proposed a better alternative, which would have made it clear where the boundaries are and would have protected good parents while punishing only the bad. It is a pity that that alternative did not see support from other parties in this House.

This year has also seen, once more, the foreshore and seabed issue come before the House. ACT is the only party that has maintained a consistent view on this issue, which is, simply, that iwi and hapū deserve the right to have their claims heard in open court. That is why we opposed the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, and it is why we do not support the Government’s Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill.

Next year, no doubt, will be equally busy, and I hope that every member of this House takes the coming break as an opportunity to get some rest in 2011. Today I would like to extend my thanks and best wishes to a number of people, beginning with my esteemed colleagues, Rodney Hide, leader of the ACT Party; Hilary Calvert, Sir Roger Douglas, and Heather Roy.

I thank also the staff at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, who have been invaluable at assisting me in coming to grips with consumer affairs portfolio. I am very grateful for the hard work of my office staff, and I hope they all have a peaceful Christmas and a well-earned break. I wish the same for my staff in Auckland.

Thanks must also go to the Speaker, the Speaker’s office, the Office of the Clerk, the Serjeant-at-Arms, the messengers, the Chamber officials, security, VIP Transport Service, the travel office, Epicure Catering staff, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the Parliamentary Library staff.

I also wish a merry Christmas to ACT’s support partners: the Māori Party and Peter Dunne’s United Future. We three may not necessarily agree on everything, but we have a positive relationship that transcends our differences. To my parliamentary colleagues in Opposition, ACT extends its best wishes for a merry Christmas and a safe holiday break. Thank you